FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Pacific completed an impressive comeback to take the series opener and used some masterful pitching performances in the second game of the day to clinch the series win over Willamette on Saturday afternoon.
The Boxers (22-10, 13-7 NWC) extend their win streak to seven games and ascend to the top of the Northwest Conference standings after capturing this crucial series. As the league schedule winds down, Pacific now holds a half-game lead over Linfield (13-8) and they take one step closer to clinching a spot in the postseason tournament.
Pacific rallied late to win game one, using two timely hits from Nolan McNeill (Senior/San Tan Valley, AZ) and Ty Yukumoto (Freshman/Waipahu, HI) in the bottom of the eighth inning to take the lead. In the second half of the twin bill, the Boxer pitching staff shutout the prolific Bearcat offense, holding on for the 1-0 victory.
Ryan Krout (Senior/Washougal, WA) banged out four hits on the afternoon, knocking in the game-winning run to lift Pacific over Willamette in game two.
Yukumoto enjoyed a three-hit day and raises his batting average to a team-high .369.
Will Clark (Junior/Boise, ID) would start the game on the rubber for the Boxers, going 4.1 innings while allowing two earned runs, with four strikeouts. Willamette would keep this lead until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Tyler Agnew (Junior/Folsom, CA) would take over. The right hander allowed two runs and punched out one batter through his 2.2 innings.
The Boxers would fire up their offense in the fifth inning, with a single by Cole Strober (Senior/Pacific City, OR) to lead off the inning. He stole two bases before scoring Pacific’s first run of the game. Two more runs come across following four straight singles, which would tie up the ball game.
An RBI base hit would give Willamette with a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the Boxers would leave runners on second and third, as they were unable to find the timely hit. The Bearcats took advantage and once again gained a two-run lead in the seventh, making it 5-3. Cayden Okada (Freshman/Waipahu, HI) would take over in the top of the eighth, where he would go two innings and only allow one hit, striking out two.
The bats heated up in the eight, where two walks would set the table for pinch-hitter Nolan McNeill (Senior/Sun Tan Valley, AZ). The senior came up with a huge two-RBI double, once again evening the score. With the go-ahead on second base, Yukumoto battled in a two-strike count and slapped his third hit of the day to give Pacific the lead.
Okada shut the door in the ninth to earn his fifth win of the season and make it three straight appearances without allowing a run.
This game would prove to be a pitchers’ duel, with both teams unable to break the deadlock through five innings. Kahi Bisho (Senior/Honolulu, HI) got the nod and held the Bearcats scoreless through five innings. He fanned five batters and surrendered just three hits in his no-decision.
The Boxers would finally get on the board in the sixth, with Krout’s RBI single. The top of the sixth would provide a momentum-shifting moment, highlighted by a Jordan Hara (Senior/Aiea, Hi) diving catch to get out of the inning with runners on second and third. Pacific would keep the 1-0 lead.
Liam Cammall (Senior/ San Diego, CA) got the final four outs of the day, allowing just one hit to earn the save.
The Boxers go for the series sweep tomorrow at 12 p.m. It will be Senior Day at Chuck Bafaro Stadium, as the 14 seniors will be honored prior to first pitch
For the latest information on Pacific Athletics, make sure to check out GoBoxers.com. You can also find the Boxers on social media at @GoBoxers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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